Benzema strikes again as Real end last 16 jinx

Real Madrid put their recent European woes behind them to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2004 with a comfortable 3-0 win over Lyon on Wednesday.

Updated: March 17, 2011 09:37 IST
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Madrid: Real Madrid put their recent European woes behind them to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2004 with a comfortable 3-0 win over Lyon on Wednesday.

Real had crashed out at the last 16 stage of the Champions League for six successive seasons, but new coach Jose Mourinho brought an end to that jinx.

Goals from Marcelo, Lyon old boy Karim Benzema and Angel di Maria secured victory as Madrid progressed 4-1 on aggregate.

Brazilian full-back Marcelo scored his first Champions League goal on 37 minutes to break the deadlock, before Benzema netted his sixth goal of the competition on 65 minutes against his hometown club.

Argentine di Maria added a third on 76 minutes as Real took revenge on Lyon, who defeated them at this stage last season, and keep alive their hopes of a first Champions League title since 2002.

Mourinho, who won the trophy with Inter Milan at the Santiago Bernabeu last season, is looking to provide Real with their 10th European Cup and make history by becoming the first manager to win the Champions League with three different clubs.

"The bad run had to end sometime and it did tonight," said Mourinho.

"We won both games and deserved to go through as we were the better side.

"I would prefer not to play against my old clubs Chelsea or Inter Milan (in the quarter-finals), but if we have to then I will prepare for it."

Real welcomed back top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo from injury -- the Portuguese star having missed the last two league games with a thigh problem -- and the world's most expensive player was thrust into the starting line-up.

Lyon had never lost in their three Champions League trips to the Bernabeu but the French visitors knew they would have to score in the Spanish capital after the 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Lyon welcomed back striker Lisandro Lopez and and Brazilian captain Cris shrugged off a knock to start.

Ronaldo tried his luck with a long range free-kick early on but his effort sailed over the crossbar.

With four minutes gone Real almost scored but goalkeeper Hugo Lloris raced out to thwart German international Mesut Ozil, who had timed his run to perfection.

On 21 minutes Madrid got a real scare when Argentine Cesar Delgado curled a shot towards the bottom-right corner but goalkeeper Iker Casillas got down to palm away.

Real responded by upping their game and took the lead on 37 minutes thanks to a fine individual goal from Marcelo.

The Brazilian exchanged passes with Ronaldo before surging into the area, cutting back onto his left foot and firing in a shot that deflected off Lloris on its way in.

The relief was tangible and Benzema, in fine form with six goals in his last three league outings, was denied by Lloris four minutes later after latching onto a Marcelo cross.

Benzema had the ball in the net 60 seconds later with a fine header but was flagged offside.

Coach Claude Puel threw on striker Bafetimbi Gomis to give his side more firepower, but it was the hosts who looked the more dangerous, especially from set-pieces.

Benzema had a penalty appeal turned down on 63 minutes but shrugged off the disappointment to score three minutes later.

A defensive mix-up allowed Benzema a free run on goal and the Frenchman slotted home for his sixth goal in the competition this term.

Lyon sensed the game was up and winger di Maria went clean through on goal in the 76th minute before producing a neat chipped finish to complete the scoring.

"Real Madrid could get to the final of the Champions League," said Lyon coach Claude Puel.

"They have the individual quality and if they can stay solid at the back, they could go all the way to the final."

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  • Real Madrid
  • Football
  • John Terry
  • Lyon
  • Karim Benzema

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